(This was originally meant to be a response to Po Ashton's excellent comment in The State Of the Bobcats' Center Address. It got a bit longer than I originally intended, so I decided it should go here instead. So go read his comment and this will be here waiting. You'll see. This can wait.)
I’m excited about Bismack Biyombo, because we don’t need him to be a star. That’s for later. We need him to play his defined role and be elite at it. And I for one think he can do that.
Gerald Henderson can become a shut down defender who scores a very efficient 15 a night and is athletic enough so that he can run a fast paced offense well enough with someone like Kemba Walker.
Tyrus coupled with Biyombo and Henderson can create a stout defensive presence to mask Kemba’s defensive deficiencies.
Kemba is the player I’m most bullish about, mainly because I don’t see a role he plays if he doesn’t magically blossom into a superstar. He’s not talented enough as a distributor to play second fiddle to a star, and until I see it, we can’t be sure one way or another about his ability to score at this level. If everything goes right with him, he could become the Russell Westbrook to our Kevin Durant. If not, I just hope he’s shown enough that even if he isn’t seen as a "star" he’ll still garner enough interest to net us more assets. I could go on and on about Kemba’s future on this team, but that’ll do for now.
As for our "proven" commodities (Boris Diaw and D.J. Augustin), I’m hoping they play well enough (or hell, I don’t even want them to play) that we can get more assets from them. They don’t have a place in the Bobcat’s future (so I disagree with signing them later, I’ll get to that in a second), so we might as well get whatever we can from a contender. You don’t think someone would be willing to give up a first round pick for a shooter like Augustin? Or package Boris, DJ, and a terrible contract to get some additional cap relief? We should make every effort to move Boris and DJ to either pick up future assets or get further under the cap.
As for re-signing either in the future, I’ll say this. I hope once we get rid of Diaw’s carcass we stay the hell away for the rest of his career. The last thing any rebuilding team is someone who doesn’t give his all most of the time. Even as a 6th man. He’ll just take minutes away from someone who we could count on to always give effort.
As for DJ, I’d love to have him back as a 6th man at a modest contract in the future. Unlike Kemba, he could really provide a solid role for our future. Augustine isn’t and never was cut out to be a "face of the franchise" guy like Kemba. He didn’t have that swagger at Texas (where Durant was the big man on campus) so putting him in the position we put him in wasn’t fair in retrospect. However, coming off the bench for us in the future, we can use him as the incredibly efficient 3-point shooter he can be. We shouldn’t ask much more from him, but he will have the ability to occasionally take it to the rim, hit an open man, and get out in transition with our other young, fast paced pieces.
Then there’s the curious case of Corey Maggette. He’s a useful player. He’s grossly overpaid. He’ll also be an expiring contract next year season. Therefore, in my mind, there will be a market for him after this season. There will be a contender out there somewhere that will be willing to give up something tangible for Maggette’s expiring contract. Much more willing than someone like Desagana Diop (who will also be expiring) because he’s a player who has a useful skill: he can score.
That brings me to the case of our amnesty clause. There has been some debate about whether we should use it on Diop or Maggette. I think the case made above should be enough to dissaude anyone from thinking we shouldn’t use it on Diop, because I guarantee we’ll be able to give Maggette away in a worst case scenario next season. I doubt anyone would touch Diop with a 10 foot pole (as the saying goes).
Getting to the last part of our roster, we have the
corpses bench warmers known as Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera. We’ll in all likelihood just have to sit on these contracts until they expire. Unless we can convince someone in the above scenario (DJ, Diaw, or Diaw and DJ), they’ll play 0-10 minutes on a rebuilding team, not doing anything particularly useful. Matty Carroll may win us a game with a 3 pointer this year, and that can be the highlight of his career. It’ll be a cool story for him. Our Mexican enforcer can run around and do crazy things for another season, just entertain us while we suck. It’ll be fun guys. Let’s root for these two crappy players to have some fun the few seasons in a very limited while we might for their clock to expire.
That’s all just a look at what I think we should do with our current stable of players. I did everything I could to make this as non-rosterabory as possible (because I kind of despise the process of rosterbating when their is no good reason why we should be making any moves, no matter how many times Focus will throw out 5 nominal players who won’t do much for us and one player who is stupid to even speculate over [Al Jefferson? Really?]). If the Bobcats were to do something similar to this (as I expect them to) then it’ll be a really responsibe rebuilding process. Even if we don’t get lucky in the draft, we should still have a really solid core nucleus to build around with plenty of cap room in two years when, one way or another, Carroll, Najera, Maggette, and Diop contract’s are gone. Assuming we don’t have a melt-down in the draft (of Adam Morrisony proportions) we should be set to be a playoff team at worst, a contender at best.